Congress Was Banned from Wikipedia

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congress banned from wikipediaIn 2006 was the US Congress banned from Wikipedia? Yes, yes they were. Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is one of the most visited websites in the world. It is a referencing tool that anyone with access to the internet can use for free. It has an extraordinary amount of information on just about anything, but this free information comes with a catch. As any high school or university student will attest to, Wikipedia articles are often considered unreliable. Although the information is often accurate, it is open to abuse. Part of what makes Wikipedia so popular, informative and free is that all of the articles are contributed to by users. Anyone can sign up and alter an article on Wikipedia. This is exactly what was happening in 2006 when Wikipedia banned members and staffers of congress from the site. From an observers perspective the entire scenario was rather funny, but for the elected representatives it could have had dire consequences.

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Why did congress get banned from Wikipedia?

Congress found themselves banned from Wikipedia because of the freedom it offers registered users to alter articles on the site. As Neil deGrasse Tyson discovered, it can become quite an annoyance when articles are changed to become false or misleading. What was happening was congressmen, senators and their staffers were accessing the pages of their opponents and changing the information about congressmen. Wikipedia had discovered over 1,000 edits of articles coming from ip addresses associated with the White House and Senate. It was really a rather childish exercise, but entertaining also.

How long was Congress banned from using the site? Wikipedia enacted the ban on Congress for one week, however several Wikipedia editors recommended stiffer and longer bans.

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